Some schools in the UK have been warned over their use of facial recognition systems as a form of contactless payment for their students. 

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said that schools should consider the necessity first before implementing such systems. A rights group has also spoken against the use of facial recognition systems in schools. 

This comes after a report revealed the schools in North Ayrshire in Scotland have begun using facial recognition systems as a form of contactless payments in canteens. 

A spokesperson for the North Ayrshire council has defended the use of facial recognition systems, arguing that it has made payments faster and students and their parents have given their consent for schools to use them. 

UK Schools Warned Over Using Facial Recognition Systems

Students Having a Meal
(Photo : Annie Spratt on Unsplash)

UK schools have been warned by the country's data privacy watchdog over the use of facial recognition systems. 

This comes after it has been reported by the Financial Times that a handful of schools in North Ayrshire in Scotland have started using facial recognition systems as a form of contactless payment in canteens. 

According to a report by the BBC, the Information Commissioner's Office has encouraged schools to "carefully consider the necessity and proportionality of collecting biometric data before they do so."

The ICO has also said that it will be contacting the North Ayrshire council in Scotland over the matter. 

The BBC has noted that it discovered that two schools in England are likewise using facial recognition systems. 

A spokesperson for a children's digital rights group called Defend Digital Me has also spoken against the use of facial recognition systems in schools. "Biometrics should never be used for children in educational settings - no ifs, no buts. It's not necessary. Just ban it," the spokesperson said as quoted by the BBC report. 

The spokesperson also insisted that the least invasive method should be used whether in canteens or libraries in schools. 

Related Article: Facial Recognition to be Used in UK School's Lunch Payment, Minimizing Touch Amid COVID-19's Threat

North Ayrshire Council Defends Decision

A spokesperson of the North Ayrshire council has defended the decision to shift to using facial recognition systems in schools. The spokesperson has argued that facial recognition systems have made payments faster and added that students and their parents have given their consent. 

The North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said that there is now an opportunity to "install IT infrastructure which makes our service more efficient and enhances the pupil experience using innovative technology."

Privacy Concerns Over Facial Recognition

Arguments against the use of facial recognition systems are nothing new as those who campaign against it have often described the technology as invasive. 

Early this month, it was reported by Tech Times that Europe is going for a ban on facial recognition as a method to be used by law enforcement. In 2019, Facebook opted to turn off its facial recognition due to privacy concerns. 

Also Read: IBM Halts Facial Recognition Technology After a 'National Dialogue'

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Written by Isabella James

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